Computer Literacy at Freret Community Center

Freret  Community Center

I have always seen a need for a computer technology center in New Orleans, or hell, like eight of them. CTC’s are community centers with a focus on computer tutoring. I thought I could start one in Treme once I got my house done over there. . . but due to a wicked turn of events, that didn’t happen.

I sort of gave up on that project over the last couple of years. But New Orleans is funny to me, it seems to secretly hold all my wants and desires and places them squarely before me to cure a bad episode of city cynicism. Rewards for my loyalty and perseverance.

So one day in December, when life was looking rather dreadful, I sat down and had three beers with Jack Ware. I figured his life is likely scarier than mine . . . he’ll help me keep my perspective. So, we’re yappin and he starts telling me that he’s set up this network for a computer lab at the Freret St. Community Center. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Completely stunned. The facility was there, the computers had been found, the operating system installed. All I had to do was get in and start teaching. I just went into shock. I couldn’t believe that Jack, with all his, non-community-meetin’-bullshit talk had done this! I explained to him that this was something that I had always wanted to do in the city and he and Kimberly had already done all the really hard stuff that I would have had to plod through in order to get to the part that I really wanted to do.

So the lab is up and running and we have been doing a soft rollout with some students which has already proven extremely rewarding. I teach on Saturday mornings, which means my Friday nights are pretty nerdy too . . . but it is a really great facility and the students are so grateful. The workshops are student driven and very flexible because we truly are teaching the fundamentals of using a computer and I do not want people to feel that they have any pressure on them. They can’t fail. Most of them are doing the two finger poke on the keyboard but that’s ok, we dive right in and start mousing around the desktop and Googling their curiosities and creating emails.

Kimberly VanWagner and Kate Peak run the center. They have a broad spectrum of programs/activities for kids and adults from FREE yoga on Wednesdays, to math workshops and there is an art gallery in the center with rotating exhibits. There is a nice backyard with a small stage, it’s a wonderful space.

The kids from the center made $600 from their art booth at the Freret Festival last week and today they did a math class about there profit/investments and about philanthropy and decided how much they would give back to the center.

For more information about activities at the center:
Freret Neighborhood Center
4605 Freret
New Orleans, LA 70115
504.373.6403 phone

1 Comment so far

  1. termite on April 13th, 2008 @ 7:25 pm

    jack worked long and hard on this project… many, many hours.

    he ain’t nuttin’ but a rough, tough cream-puff. :p

    now…if we can only get him back here to write for the MB. . . =D

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